Bilawal urges measures to combat Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday met Miguel Moratinos, UN high-representative for the alliance of civilizations (UNAOC), on the sidelines of the 77th annual session of the General Assembly in New York.

A Foreign Office statement said Zardari held a discussion on the work of the UN body and avenues for collaboration with Moratinos. They also deliberated on strengthening interreligious dialogue, and combating Islamophobia as well as intolerance based on religion or belief.

The two diplomats underlined the need for achieving harmony among diverse cultures and societies.

The foreign minister emphasised that Islamophobia was prevalent in Western countries but its most virulent manifestation was on display in India. He called upon the body to step up its efforts to halt and reverse Islamophobia, bigotry and discrimination based on religion and belief.

While encouraging interfaith and intercultural dialogue and exchange of ideas at the local, national and international levels, Moratinos reiterated the willingness of UNAOC to support all efforts that promote continued dialogue and foster mutual respect and understanding, including on ways to combat Islamophobia.

Separately, Zardari also held a bilateral meeting with his Algerian counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra, and discussed the established framework for cooperation and exchanges characterised by mutual trust and friendship between the two countries.

According to Foreign Office, the foreign minister expressed satisfaction at the historically fraternal ties between the two nations. He expressed pride in Pakistan’s role in Algeria’s independence.

Lamamra welcomed Pakistan’s principled position on the Middle East and other issues. Both ministers agreed that the commitment of Pakistan and Algeria to international principles was the pillar of their close relationship.

Thet also agreed to revive and reinforce several institutions and mechanisms of bilateral cooperation. They also agreed on continued mutual support and coordination of positions bilaterally and in multilateral platforms, including at the UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

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